The weather in Toronto has been ridiculously gorgeous this week. Just ridiculous. I walked around downtown in jeans, a t-shirt and flip flops today. I used to be able to bet that we'd always get one huge snowstorm in March. But over the past 3-4 years, that hasn't happened.
The influx of spring leaves me wanting lighter, brighter flavours. I want to gently poke my head out from beneath the culinary blanket of braised, rib sticking food. Emphasis on the gently. There's nothing pleasant about a rude awakening.
So, while revisiting an old Martha Stewart magazine in search of recipes for Easter (my parents and brother are staying with us this year!), I stumbled across a recipe for chard, sausage and lemon lasagne. It hit the right notes for me - bechemel sauce for comfort, lemons for brightness, tons of chard for veggie infused goodness (and seasonality - the chard at the shops are gorgeous right now) and sausage for that awesome hit of porky goodness.
And, it came together and cooked in under an hour to boot. Rock on, Martha. For the record, I used Meyer lemons because that's what I had on hand. The original recipe calls for regular ones, but the advantage to the Meyers is you get a slightly different aroma and their skin is thinner, so they incorporate better.
Swiss Chard & Sausage Lasange with Meyer Lemons.
(from Martha Stewart Living)
2 tbsp butter
¼ cup flour
3 cups milk
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
kosher salt and coarsely ground pepper
1 bunch chopped Swiss chard
1 lb sweet Italian sausages, casings removed
1 lemon, sliced paper thin
6 no boil lasagne noodles.
1. Melt butter in saucepan. Stir in flour and cook for two minutes. Gradually, whisk in milk and bring to a boil. Boil for one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in 3/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese, and season mixture with salt and pepper. Stir in the chard and set aside.
2. In a small saucepan cover lemon slices with several inches of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 7 minutes. When finished, gently remove slices from pot with a slotted spoon and let drain on paper towel. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook Italian sausage, breaking up pieces with a wooden spoon as they cook.
3. Preheat oven to 350º.
4. To assemble lasagne, ladle ¼ cup of the sauce into the bottom of an 8"x8" baking dish. Top with two lasagne noodles. Layer 1 cup sauce and ½ the sausage mixture on top. Repeat with another layer of noodles, sauce and the rest of the sausage. Before adding the last two lasange noodles, top sausage with half of the lemon slices. Top with lasagne noodles, the rest of the sauce and the remaining lemon slices.
5. Cover pan with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil, sprinkle remaining Parmesan on top of lasagne and broil for 2-3 minutes, or until top is golden and bubbly. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.